I play video games like playing video games is my job, and business is booming. I put in a lot of time on this hobby/addiction, and when you’re on the console as much as I am, it’s only natural to start to develop…certain feelings for the characters on screen. It’s not like I put on makeup before I start playing Half-Life 2, but I have started to develop a bit of a list of video-game-character crushes. They’re not all protagonists—hell, they’re not all human—but they’re all mine.
10. Wheatley from Portal 2
Why so crushable? OK, so he’s really just a round robot from Portal 2. I know that. But he’s funny, he’s smart, he’s adorably bumbling, he’s complex, and he’s voiced by Stephen Merchant. We can work around his lack of humanity.
Special talents: *SPOILER ALERT* He can be a pretty awesomely twisted bad guy if need be. Otherwise, he’s Jesse Eisenberg in robot form: all adorably klutzy and unsure of himself.
Availability: At game’s end, he’s drifting around in space, lonely, so if you can find him, he’s all yours!
9. Eddie Riggs from Brutal Legend
Why so crushable? Eddie is a heavy metal roadie that is transported to a heavy metal universe and asked to save the world. And he does it, without ever demanding the spotlight (because he’s a roadie and that’s what they do), and with some of the best mutton chops in gaming. Bonus: he’s voiced by Jack Black.
Special talents: Turns out this unassuming, kind-hearted roadie is damn good at assembling and directing an army. Also, he can play guitar, and he uses the power of rock ’n’ roll to defeat the emo bad guys. (This game is pretty clever, and if you haven’t played it yet, you should.)
Availability: Eddie is noble, good, sweet, and totally devoted…to his work. Which is kinda what makes him so attractive. Expect a lot of hangouts with no commitment.
8. Samantha from Gears of War 3
Why so crushable? Samantha is one of two females on the Gears of War team, and she earned that position by being an amazing soldier, with the added benefit of being able to verbally dice up the rest of the Gears. To call her acid-tongued is an understatement. Plus she has a wicked Aussie accent, and she’s gorgeous (without constantly showing her cleavage).
Special talents: She tattoos! When Dom’s wife died, Sam tattooed her face onto Dom’s arm. Awww.
Availability: She flirts here and there, but she seems pretty available, if you can keep up with her.
7. Garcia Hotspur from Shadows of the Damned
Why so crushable? Garcia is one of the first Latino bad-boy protagonists in gaming. He’s tattooed, he wears a leather jacket, and his hair is dreamy, and all he wants to do is rescue his girlfriend. From hell.
Special talents: Turning booze into health points, fighting demons, making hilarious double-entendres.
Availability: Well, he did spend all his time and energy rescuing his current girlfriend from hell, but their relationship is so volatile, they’ll probably break up soon.
6. Gordon Freeman and Alyx Vance from Half-Life 2
Why so crushable? It was impossible to choose between these two. Gordon Freeman is the main protagonist: a theoretical physicist charged with, you guessed it, saving the world. He never speaks, and you never even see him unless you’re on the main menu of the game, but every time I do, I’m shocked at how much he looks like dudes I’ve dated. Glasses, slight beard, intense-looking. Meow. Alyx is the daughter of a doctor that Gordon must consult with, but she’s so smart and handy that she comes along with him and ends up saving him most of the time. She’s a hacker, she has a great sense of humor, and she looks great in jeans.
Special talents: Gordon’s is his ability to keep his glasses on whilst fighting monsters. Alyx’s is her ability to stay positive and crack jokes as all hell is breaking loose.
Availability: Gordon seems like the kind of guy you’d need to befriend and then slowly get to know before making a move on him, but Alyx would probably be up for going on a date…if she’s not busy killing headcrab zombies.
5. Master Chief from the Halo games
Why so crushable? Master Chief is a bit of the strong, silent type, in that he barely ever speaks despite being the protagonist of four video games, and you never get to see his face at all, which makes it a bit like having a crush on a guy based on his emails alone. All you have to go on are Master Chief’s actions of inspiring an entire army, making tough choices, and kicking ass.
Special talents: Being enormous and anonymous. What does Master Chief really look like? Whatever you fantasize!
Availability: He’s probably not even slightly looking to date, but wouldn’t it be awesome to be the one person he decides to raise his helmet for?
4. Bayonetta from Bayonetta
Why so crushable? Bayonetta is a beautiful, magical witch who has GUNS IN HER HIGH HEELS, so she has to do headstands to shoot you. Plus, she wears glasses. And she is pissed off. She’s clever, never loses her cool, and can fight like crazy while keeping track of a young orphan girl. Did I mention she wears glasses?
Special talents: Bayonetta’s clothes are actually made of her hair. That is pretty rad.
Availability: She isn’t looking to get involved with anyone right now. She’s kinda focusing on her career.
3. Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII
Why so crushable? He looks like a twee little guy, but man, is Cloud complicated. He’s got killer hair, an enormous weapon (the Buster Sword), and also, he’s a former member of a genetically modified military unit called SOLDIER. He’s noble and wants to do the right thing, but he’s got some emotional issues to deal with that make it hard to know what’s truth and what’s delusion. He’s not even sure if he’s human, you guys.
Special talents: Fighting. Being badass. Being complicated.
Availability: Seriously, Cloud is the ultimate “project” guy. He’s got issues, and as sweet and badass as he might be, handle with care. Perhaps more of a fling than a long-term dude.
2. Chun Li from Street Fighter
Why so crushable? Chun Li is the number-one chick you should not underestimate. She is pretty, sure, but she is also a feminist pioneer because she’s the first-ever playable female character in a fighting game.
Special talents: The Spinning Bird Kick, of course!
Availability: Chun Li seems like she’d be an amazing girlfriend, and totally free of silly emotional baggage. With her, it’d be all romantic dates, fun training sessions, and ironing her qipao.
1. Nathan Drake from the Uncharted games
Why so crushable? He’s flawed, he’s passionate about history, he’s well traveled. Plus, that HAIR! He’s the closest thing we have, in video-game world, to Indiana Jones. More than anyone or anything else on this list, Nathan Drake seems like an actual dude you would meet, possibly in a coffee shop in Turkey. He is one of the most fully realized characters in all of gaming, and I fully realize that they built him to be incredibly appealing.
Special talents: Climbing literally anything, decoding ancient mysteries, looking good while sweating.
Availability: Despite how real they’ve made him, he’s just real enough to not be that interested in you. He’s more into his artifacts. Work comes first, and you’d have to be OK with that. Also, his co-workers are often incredibly attractive women, and sometimes his ex-wife. ♦